How to: Get rid of the nofollow attribute on your WordPress blog

by Jean. 88 Comments -

Wordpress, like many other blog engines, uses the rel=”nofollow” attribute in comments for the so-called fight against spam. If this was a good idea, it is totally ineffective, and in addition, a link with this attribute will not receive any credit by Google when they rank websites. It is therefore clearly in the interest of bloggers to get rid of rel=”nofollow” attribute.

The little history of nofollow

The rel=”nofollow” attribute was introduced back in 2005 by Google. The idea behind this concept was that if a link would not affect Google, spammers stop their harmful activities. If the idea was excellent , any blogger still receive dozens of spam comments daily.

If you own a WordPress blog, there’s a strong chance that the links in the comments are nofollow. Does this prevents spammers to try to post their links for Rolex and Viagra? Certainly not.

Moreover, when one of your readers leaves a comment on your blog, if he has a website, he’ll probably fill the url field and make a link to his own blog. But as the link does have a rel=”nofollow” attribute, it will not receive any credit by Google when they rank websites.

Of course, you leave a comment on a blog when you have something interesting to say, not just because you want to have more backlinks and a higher pagerank.
However, I think that when a reader writes an appropriate comment on my blog, he really deserves that his link should be counted as a backlink, and provide him – on the long term – a higher pagerank.

So, CatsWhoCode.com is a 100% dofollow blog. Any url on this website is counted by Google as a backlink. No nofollow either on my personal weblog.

How to: Get rid of the nofollow attribute on your WordPress blog

Time to follow

You’re convinced of the interest of turning off the rel=”nofollow” attribute and you own a blog running WordPress? Here’s two ways to get rid of this non SEO-Friendly attribute:

Editing WordPress core:

Modifiying WordPress core is generally not recommended. However, this solution is kinda easy to implement if you don’t want to install another plugin. The biggest drawback of this technique is that after you upgraded WordPress, you must restart the operation.

To get rid of the attribute rel=”nofollow” directly in the code of WordPress, proceed as follows:
Edit the file-how template.php, it resides in the wp-includes directory.
Go to line 48. You should see this:

$return = "<a href='$url' rel='external nofollow'>$author</a>";

Then, you just have to delete the nofollow:

$return = "<a href='$url' rel='external'>$author</a>";

Just save the file, and you’re done.

Using a dedicated plugin:

There are several plugins WordPress that will work for you. The advantage of a plugin is that you’ll not need to modify WordPress core, and after you upgrade your WordPress version, you’ll just have to reactivate the plugin to re-delete the nofollow.

If a plugin is what you chose (good choice!), DoFollow 4.0 and Nofollow Free are both very good in my opinion. They’re super easy to install: Just download the file on the author’s site, upload it to your wp-content/plugins directory, activate it, and bye bye nofollow.

After you deleted the rel=”nofollow” from your blog, don’t hesitate to claim it! On my personal blog, I received more interesting comments after saying goodbye to this useless attribute.

Happy dofollow blogging ;)

Comments (88) - Leave yours

  1. Gaston said:

    Congratulations.

    I made the same thing some weeks ago on an advice of alex (http://www.referencement-blog.net/) and his dedicated website for the dofollow cause :D (http://www.dofollow.fr/).

  2. Milan Andric said:

    I disagree. Comments should not get google cred. It complicates
    things. If I want to follow someone then I will write a separate blog
    entry with a link in it. Or put them in my blogroll, etc, explicitly
    link to them. Otherwise people will always start putting links into
    comments when they wouldn’t have before. You will have -yet another
    layer to process- when moderating a comment. I like the level of
    silence a link in a comment receives, I think it leads to more free
    commenting. esp. since commenting is essentially discussion. What
    about linking to things you hate? Then what? Blogging is noisy
    enough, we don’t need to remove rel=”nofollow”.

    There is still implicit value in the link because people will click on
    it and the targeted people will see the referrer as well. So there is
    value in that, not just in google cred. So I vote for keeping
    rel=”nofollow”, it’s a good standard, but to each his own. I
    generally assume (public especially) commenting uses rel=”nofollow”.
    I will start not using rel=”nofollow” when it’s the default in
    wordpress. ;)

  3. jbj said:

    Thanks for sharing your opinions about the nofollow attribute.
    I agree with you that people may use comments of a dofollow blog to only post link, sometimes without even any related topic to your post. It happens to me sometimes, and when it does, and when the comment looks like “Great! Thank you. Visite my site …” I just treat it as a spam.
    But, I think an interesting comment like the one you just wrote have no reason not to be followed.

  4. Lee said:

    When you read lots of information online, it is an incentive to become more interactive with the blogs you frequently visit. I think if your audience is aware of DoFollow and NoFollow links then you should allow DoFollows. It may increase some spam, although I bet allot more genuine people will contribute as they are getting something in return.

    If your audience is not at all aware of DoFollow links, then it probably won’t make any difference. I find most people who own their own blog/website and are regularly online, understand a bit about online promotion and links. So I’m sure they will consider these things before deciding to make a post.

  5. Mike Canon said:

    Hi Jbj,

    I tend to agree with your take on the do follow comment. Yes, there can be more spam attacks, but for those who are ethical and legit, then they will make sure they are contributing to the discussion, and make on topic comments. I see it as a give and take, and you graciously give of the follow link, while the commentor, should be giving in adding great content to the post, and helping get more unique content for the spiders to crawl.

    It’s too bad that people had to destroy a really good thing, but does’t that always end up happening?

    Mike

  6. Web design company said:

    Thanks for the useful information. I participate in blogs ad forums on a regular basis. Whilst I frown upon spamming comments, I too believe that if a user has taken the time to contribute meaningfully and share his/her knowledge in web design, SEO or whatever the topic of the post, it is OK to expect a small reward in return in the form of a do follow link back.

  7. SEO Zombie said:

    I agree with the idea behind the dofollow movement and tried it on my blog for about a month, but eventually made the choice to return to nofollow. I want to reward my vistors with links, but it resulted in an drastic increase in spam. I had a lot of comment that weren’t “spam”, but simply the one line “nice post, thanks so much”. I’m not looking for anyone to kiss my ass for a link. All they have to do is leave a significant comment. I even allowed anchored linking as long as the comment was legit.

    My current plan (once my site builds a little more authority) is to give my regular contextual links in some of my posts. This will help them more than the comment link anyways.

  8. VMOptions said:

    That is a nice WordPress hack without having to use any plugins. Thanks for sharing the info. But does making a blog without nofollow hurt its search engine ranks?

  9. Andy said:

    I saw this tweak added on many blogs. Maybe to encourage users to comment ? who knows..
    Anyway, that for sharing the MOD.

    @VMOptions: I think not. I think paging those comments, like 20 per page will be ok. On blogs with too many comments, they were paginated. So the page will have as many outbounds as you allow.

  10. MOin said:

    dofollow websites are true life savers and rescuers of the web reason we know how diffult it is to gain good PR these days. and normally people go dull and hopeless within first 6 months when they see no pr progress of their website then comes the love of dofollow blogs they make hope and let people make their pr. if you ask me with natural link building these days it can take upto a year to make pr5.

    but along with making dofollow blogs they take big risk of making their beloved blog spamhole so spammers should reconsider they kill the chance of benefit for normal people. i’ll also make my blog dofollow as soon as i get a good PR i am really scared that google may not panalize me for making it dofollow as for now, when i get a stable amount of readers that wont leave me ever i’ll make my blog dofollow. and there are many dofollow badges available that looks kool and really make you feel proud and the best of all they make you look different from many others :)

    This is my special thanks to All Dofollowers you people just rocks bravo!

  11. North Wales Website Design said:

    I totally agree, interlinking and using blogs as a social network is a great tool. The only way some of these blogs are found is by the extra credit they get from the “dofollow” via the search engines. There are some great blogs and dedicated bloggers out there, who put in a lot of hard work to get involved in the blogging community, not just to promote there own. Therefore this hard work should be rewarded. Good article!

  12. Mike Jones said:

    hats off to you for making your website do follow.I’ve heard the debate back and forth for so long. Some people think that once you make yours site do follow the spam comments increase. But with the right plug-ins, I think most of those spam comments can be taken care of. Ask for keeping yours do follow.

  13. bibbo said:

    i wonder when bloggers think that nofollow will help them with spam. they’d better use antispam plugins, akismet for example. or smth like this………

  14. Baby Shower said:

    I know many blogs use do follow while they are growing readership to help encourage posting, but after the readership is established they remove it. However, I’d argue you better put a best of commenters section so they get some link love for commenting good thoughts.

  15. blog keywords said:

    @babyshower: I’ve added the top commentators plug-in in order to try and get a few extra readers. I thought about making the blog dofollow, but decided against it for now.

  16. tooth whitening trays said:

    Directed to Milan , if you do not have comments the blog will die , and you will not get visitors , encouraging visitors to leave a comments will be beneficial , if a comment is left the search engines are pinged and there is new unique content to index,if you ge enough comments you do not need to add new content as much because the comments are new content.The vast majority of blogs you find from search engines are professional bloggers , not because the writing is great but because they know how to do the system in a way that the search engines like.
    You are gonna have to come around to our way of thinking or live in the depths of the last page of google !
    Personally I always install comment luv , it’s a great way to tell visitors that you support comment leaving, and are more than happy to give a backlink.
    how many visitors would you would you get if you get if you excluded those that onlywant to leave a backlink.
    Leaving a comment has a visitor stay on your page for a long period of time ( in case you dont know ,. the google toolbar monitors how long you stay on asite and if a lot of visitors leave in seconds after visiting then the rank will drop , the more pages the visitor goes to , the more importance your site is attributed.

    Funny though you leave a comment on how you don’t like people leaving comments , you are mixed up dude

  17. Magnetschmuck said:

    yes, he did what he just describe. any way, tooth, i also check out comments aside from reading the post itself. sometimes, i get to pick up some new things from commentators who leaves remarkable comments, like i did with yours. if what you’ve mentioned is true, your comment is quality content already.

    to the auhtor, i also have the dofollow widget on my blog, also installed commentluv. haven’t installed linkluv and top commentator yet, but i plan to to do so.

  18. Kevin Sandridge said:

    I use the SEM Do Follow plugin for WordPress. Askimet and hashcash keep most of the SPAM bots at bay, only the goofball spammy human commenters do get a bit old after a while.

    However, I do believe in rewarding those who leave valuable commentary with the do follow Google juice, so I’m keeping things Do Follow.

  19. Dofollow said:

    Well, being a dofollow blog owner I have to agree, thus type of blog is always under spammer attack. I delete spammy comments manually and it takes much time, however, it worth it because both commentators and blog owners should benefit from the comment. Blog owners get quality comments while commentators get quality backlinks. Dofollow rules.

  20. Atomic Web Solutions said:

    I agree with the whole do follow concept. Every blog owner can set up their blog to delete unwelcome comments so leave it at that. If you don’t have the time to follow up on your blogs then perhaps you earned a little or a lot of spam!

  21. Background Checks said:

    Well I certainly do think do follow is the way to go. Even thoguh it is the prime target of comment spam I really do think It is do follow invites much more informative and useful comments.

  22. Gustav Klimt Paintings said:

    Its a tricky balance betweek rewarding good comments and encouraging spamming. Personally i get frustrated that on my art blogs i dont even have the choice, as on wordpress.com. The internet is about choice. Good wishes to you for spreading information on this.

  23. Srinivas said:

    This is helpful. I want to know whether the blogger blogs have this option too. I mean does this option come into the template or the css in the blogger servers?

    Thank you!

  24. A.R.Karthick said:

    Really useful information.Searching for it quite some time. I prefer to go for code editing rather than installing anymore plug-ins. Much needed for small scale bloggers like me to get some credential. Thanks for sharing.

  25. fedmich said:

    Hmm, I cant find the file you template.php that you said, was it renamed in wp 2.8.2?
    Thanks anyway, I’ll just find in texts of php files I guess.

  26. Ashok said:

    Hi fedmich, I think the template.php referred to in this post is actually “comment-template.php”. So, you’ll have to check this “comment-template.php” file for the “nofollow” link.

  27. ryan said:

    Hey Jean-Baptiste Jung….I totally agree with you. I am a newbie and I believe we should all give credit where credit is due. Lots of great info on your site. Thanks

  28. Nice Blogger said:

    I think that Nofollow Free plugin it’s the best since you can chose after how many approved comments authors links become dofollow,it’s a effective way to let visitors know that you don’t accept spammy comments.

  29. Eric said:

    As a new WP blog owner, I’m just now getting around to understanding the value of dofollow. I’m glad to know that I can make the switch, It’s not something that is out in the open with the latest WP install.

  30. KeralaBiz said:

    I also feel that NoFollow is like NoTrust on the community.

    This post (http://www.seomoz.org/blog/nofollow-is-dying-the-impact-of-microblogging-and-nofollow-on-seo) discusses about how some nofollow links should be followed. This also means that it is possible to differentiated worthy nofollow links.

    If so, why cann’t it be the other way. Why cann’t search engines more effectively discriminate the not-worthy followed links?

  31. OneMoreGadget said:

    Well I have to say, I’ve read the post and all the comments and I am still confused as to what I should do. I run my blog and want what is best for my readers, but also what is best for me and my site. I still don’t quite see the advantages of me having this or not having this but I want to learn about as much as I can to make sure I”m doing the most that I can, even the little things like this.

    I wish it was more simple, like no follow = happiness and follow = poop.

    If I turn off the nofollow on wordpress, will google hate me?

    This is also assuming that I have something like Aksimet for Spam already. So if having it or not having it doesn’t really affect spam, how does removing the nofollow help increase hits to my blog, …or my happiness?

  32. kane said:

    I am take neutral in this case.
    I will use dofollow with comment moderate first.
    If the link is related to the post content, i think they deserve to get backlink to their site and search engine follow it.
    By this rule, the blogosphere will more live and more attractive the people for discussing.
    That’s why there is moderate facility.

  33. Darren Roberts said:

    Following those links to the plugin website – will go for the plugin I think myself so it’s less hassle upgrading to the next version of wordpress – thanks JB

    Many Thanks,
    Darren.

  34. Jon said:

    Its good to see some people are still dofollow.

    Its about networking. dofollow is like handing out a business card in real life. No business cards means no business.

  35. Ann Waters said:

    I have 180 submitted articles in my wordpress trash that contain 2-3 links on each.

    I sent them to trash as I wanted to view them at a later date and check them for quality of content.

    My question is: Do the links still count as incomimg links – even though they are in the trash folder?

    I have also noted that my yahoo incoming links has rocketed lately, and google links have crept from 4 to 17!

    I have not bought any links or used a link farm or anything of the sort . And post all my back links organically/manually.

    Sadly – I also recently got the axe from google adsense, and I am sure that it was not related to invalid click activity as my clicks have always been relatively low. I appealed but did not know what to put forward in the appeal as I honestly do not have a clue as to why I upset google.

    I love google and feel that I may have unwittingly annoyed them in error. I am sad. :(

    • Dave Clements said:

      So long as the comments are in your trash, they are not showing on your posts. If they’re not showing on your posts, then Google will not count them as backlinks.

      So from the sounds of things, you’re quite safe, just keep sending those spam items to the trash.

  36. Adam said:

    Great article and thanks for the much needed link back too! Very friendly.

    Question: Do you know if deleting the nofollow will effect the sites ranking in anyway? I mean, is there a possibility that Google will reduce page rank as there are now so many more links OUT?

    Adam

  37. Karen said:

    Thank you for your guide. I just started a new blog and I wanted my comments page to be a dofollow. Glad I was able to read your article.

    Thanks again! =)

  38. George said:

    Hi,

    Do you know a way to do the same thing on free blog hosted on wordpress.com ?
    I want to give credit to my readers that comments my articles…

    Thank you !

  39. chad said:

    Having been a user a WordPress for quite some time, I am surprised at myself for never thinking about this. But I certainly believe that there should be backlinking involved in the comment process. I think it provides a valid incentive to comment and discuss (as it is often difficult to encourage commenting anyway). I will definitely join the “I follow” movement on my own blog.

  40. James said:

    Hello,

    I also would like to know if its possible to change the no follow on the free blog hosted on wordpress.com, would be great do get some kinda link value from my blog on wordpress.com.

    Thanks

  41. Mrinal said:

    This was is really good. I missed that comment-template.php first and got irritated at first as I was unable to find the file. Now it is done. :-)
    is there anyway to find out that now everything is ‘nofollow’?
    Thank you.

  42. Seth said:

    I found this article when I was searching for “if links in WordPress widgets count as backlinks” I hate to go all necro on this article, but do you know if they do count as backlinks? I was going to put links to my other sites in each of the sidebars and was curious if they would count as backlinks.

  43. Arsie said:

    “practice what you preach” that’s what they usually say but from your code I can see that you’re using – rel=”external nofollow” – for the links.. how that differs anyhow?

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